Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: Starcrossed

STARCROSSED (Starcrossed #1)
Josephine Angelini
Paranormal Young Adult
487 pages
Harper Teen
Available tomorrow (May 31st)
Received for review via Kismet Book Touring

Helen Hamilton has lived on the island of Nantucket with her father for as long as she can remember. Though she seems to have a somewhat unnatural ability to run at great speeds, she's never given much thought to her fairly mundane life.

Mundane flies right out the window when she lays eyes on Lucas Delos, one member of the large new family that's moved to the island. Before she knows it, her entire past, present and future change with his arrival, as he brings with him the explanation for some of her oddities.

With his shocking revelations, Lucas also brings danger. Unbeknownst to her, Helen is part of an ancient feud between the Greek gods and mortals–a vital piece of the war in fact. As she learns more and more about her gifts and her family history, Helen finds herself undeniably attracted to Lucas though he makes every effort to keep her at a distance. He knows the Fates can be so very cruel, and what they have in store for Lucas and Helen will certainly shred hearts and destroy lives.

Gripping, haunting, and completely addicting, Starcrossed is one of those books where we try to set it aside after reading only a couple chapters in an attempt to keep us from finishing too quickly, but ultimately such actions are in vain as the lure of forbidden love proves to be more than we can resist. Even though we know from the title the road we'll be walking with Helen and Lucas will be neither smooth nor easy, we still can't help but be surprised at the clench in our guts and the pebbling of our skin as the strength of our emotional investment manifests itself physically. Ms. Angelini does a stunning job of building a relationship of beauty and tragedy, startling us with the intensity of Lucas and Helen's initial unexpected reaction to one another, and then slowly easing both us and our protagonists into a connection we know has the potential to wound all of us deeply. By the time we remember to put up our walls and keep our distance for the sake of our own fragile emotions, we find ourselves buried heart-deep in Lucas and Helen's story without even the slimmest chance of remaining indifferent.

In the beginning pages, Ms. Angelini starts laying the groundwork for a story that seems very familiar–setting us up carefully for the moment where Helen will inevitably meet one of the new boys causing a stir among all the girls at school, and we brace ourselves for that undefinable, instant passion. Soon that moment comes, the wind blowing unnaturally strong as the sea of students parts to reveal the stunning Lucas Delos to Helen's waiting gaze, and then...intense, inexplicable hatred. Just that quickly we experience a paradigm shift and everything we were prepared for is swept away in the tide of Helen's fury, leaving us unsure and off-kilter but vibrating with excitement at being so deliciously deceived. Without our conscious control, we start flipping the pages faster and faster in order to see what new direction the next unexpected current will toss us in.

Settling in after our preconceived notions as to where this story was headed have been shredded, we quickly come to see just how wide the chasm separating Lucas's beating heart from Helen's really is. Theirs is not a love that must overcome a mere prejudice, class difference, or emotional trauma, but rather one that, if continued, will result in epic repercussions and the perpetuation a cycle of feuding so destructive history tells of it in myths and legends meant as cautionary tales to us mere mortals. The Greek mythology element is beautifully integrated and is instrumental in creating a believable set of problems for Helen and Lucas, but into the familiar tales of well known events and individuals are infused brand new elements, creating an intimate investment on our part as the ancient chaos of god and goddess interference in human lives threatens a repeat performance.

The only minor complaint with this must-read story is the at times confusing nature of the stipulations to the Truce between the gods and the four Houses. There are so many details to keep track of in order to understand the effect the past has on the present as well as the different actions that will result in the dissolution of a crucial but fragile accord. Despite these questions, our involvement with characters and story remains passionate, hearts aching for people forced into an existence not of their making as they attempt to cope with the profound weight a bloody past has placed on each of them. While events are left unresolved, we are spared a jaw-dropping cliffhanger and given some semblance of a conclusion though we do read the last line with a sense of dread, knowing when we reach that final word we'll be left with nothing but our thoughts to keep us company during the wait for the next installment.

Rating: 4.5/5

Be sure and stop by later in the week for my interview with Lucas and a very special giveaway!


  1. Oh yes, I agree about the way she wove in Greek myth. Not just with the plot points, but with the whole epic feel and the out of this world proportions everything has. I loved the insta-hate. It was so intense and unexpected! Beautiful review, Jenny (as always) :)

  2. Wow, this one sounds pretty epic! I'm glad you liked it so much.

  3. Awesome review! I love books which involve Greek mythology. I have heard great things about Starcrossed , so I am glad to hear you enjoyed it too :)

  4. I just started reading this and am finding it hard to get into but it seems like if I keep plugging away, it'll be worth it. I'm really excited to find that the Greek mythology is indeed woven in beautifully.

  5. I've read mixed reviews on this one but I really love the way you described what you liked about it. Though the plot sounds a bit cliched in spots (as mentioned by some negative reviews), I am very much intrigued with how you describe the Greek mythology was interwoven with the story. I'm pretty sure I want to read this one now despite what some other people have said. Amazing review!

  6. Oh no! A jaw-dropping cliffhanger. Ugj, ugh! I've read mixed reviews on this one too but I can't wait to read it. I love the concept and the cover. Glad Greek Mythology is a part of it as opposed to The Goddess Test which had very little.

  7. Gorgeous review Jenny. I love books that completely consume you and you can't stop reading. Can't wait to read this :)

  8. Wonderful review, Jenny. I'm glad to hear that despite all the complicated details, this is still a story worth investing in. I will definitely be checking this one out!

    BTW, I'm all moved over to Wordpress now, so feel free to come check me out!

  9. Forbidden love, feuds and Greek mythology. I must say that that sounds very good in my ears :)

  10. Oooh, good. I've been wondering how the book was. Sounds great!

  11. Right Jenny. I need this bish, LIKE NOW!

  12. Small - I loved the insta-hate too. I was bracing myself for the insta-love and the googly-eyes and all that and I was so glad that didn't happen:) And I liked the reasoning behind the insta-hate too.

    Ashley - I just loved it:)

    Misha - I'm loving all the books dealing with Greek Mythology, it's always been a favorite subject of mine:)

    Zahida - It does start out a bit slow, hopefully it sucks you in once things get rolling:)

    Aylee - I know a lot of people are making comparisons with Twilight, but I think you can really make comparisons with any story, so I just enjoyed it for what it was and loved the characters:)

    Julie - No, no cliffhanger! Well, not a huge one, things are just left unresolved for book 2. Much more mythology in this one than in Goddess Test (I thought).

    Nic - Thanks! I thought it was fabulous.

    Carissa - Definitely worth investing in, and Josie was nice enough to write me and tell me my confusion was intentional and things will all be clarified in future books:)

    Blodeuedd - It is very good, I hope you try it!

    Book Sake - I loved it, but I'm partial to Greek mythology and great characters and this had both for me:)

    Aly - GO GET IT! Do it:)

  13. I was a big fan of the insta-hate in this one - it certainly took me by surprise! I enjoyed this one too. It was slow to start for me, but then as I got further into the book, I couldn't stop reading. The Greek Mythology aspect of this book is also very well done. There are a lot of books dealing with Greek Myth modernisations right now, and not all of them work, but this one does!

    Great review, Jenny! :)

  14. Great review. I have heard many great things on this one. Looking forward to reading it! :0)

  15. Fantastic review! I couldn't get into this one as an ebook, but I admit I didn't try too hard. I'll definitely try it again in hardcover format. I love remixed Greek myth. :)

  16. Leanna - Me too! I'm very ready for book 2 already:)

    Tracy - Thanks! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    Kat - I'm all about the Greek mythology at the moment, I can't get enough:)

  17. Oh, awesome! Starcrossed has been on my shelf for a while, but I held off because it kind of sounded typical. I plan on reading it very soon now! :)

  18. Sounds excellent! I love a book when you want to put it down so it won't end so quickly. I've heard mostly good reviews about this one, so I definitely want to pick it up.

  19. Great review! I really feel into this book quickly! At times, I was heartbroken and at others,I was justing excited! I can't wait to read the next one.

  20. Ok I'm bumping this book up on my review pile. I've read some good reviews on it and can't wait to get started on it.

  21. Oooooh! You soooo know how to make me want to get in the car (no bra and in my santa jammie pants mind you) immediately and head to the bookstore!


  22. Oh I'll have to double check, but I think I passed on this one. Can I smack myself in the head now? Perhaps I'm wrong and will save me the headache. I must go check now!

  23. Glad that you really enjoyed this one, Jenny! I love how the Greek myths are woven into the story not just plot points. I'm really looking forward to reading this one!

  24. Lauren - It wasn't typical for me, I really like how she set everything up in a way that made me think things were going to be more of the same and then changed it up:)

    Alison - I hope you get to it soon, it's a favorite of mine so far this year!

    Savy - I can't wait either, I need it immediately:)

    Jenny - Can't wait to see what you think!

    Ashley - YES! Mission accomplished:)

    Melissa - I hope you go back and get it! It was fabulous:)

    Rummanah - I loved the Greek mythology part of this one, it played a role, but wasn't the whole story either. Everything was really balanced I thought:)

  25. I was drawn to this one because of the Greek mythology, and now with your critical insight, I am sure it will be quite glorious!

  26. Jenny-

    So excellent! Much better than my attempt. I just couldn't say it, but you said it for me. It was just wonderful and I've read it twice and now I want to read it again after reading your review.
    It's one of my two favorites of the year. I cannot wait for Dreamless!!


  27. Great review, Jenny! I felt the same way about this book! I really enjoyed it and I loved the incorporation of Greek Mythology. I can't wait for the sequel as well!

  28. Ha! You painted a picture so elaborate, I could see the parting of the students.

    Enticing review. Now I'm wondering why I put this book down. Must reattempt.

  29. I can't wait to read this. I just bought itso your review is helpful.

  30. Is Greek mythology the new fallen angels? If so, as a mythophile, I like it!

  31. After seeing a review of this on Mindful Musings, I added to my TBR. And now I'm moving it up the list!